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Singapore set to join 'forward-looking' US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: PM Lee

Singapore set to join 'forward-looking' US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: PM Lee

Singapore is poised to join an economic framework for the Indo-Pacific region that will be launched by the United States this week, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saying it reflects an “intent to cooperate on economic issues which are relevant” to the region.

“Singapore is planning to join. It is not quite a substitute for the TPP, but it is a forward-looking agenda,” Mr Lee said, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a free trade agreement which the Donald Trump administration withdrew from in 2017.

“We support it, because it is a valuable sign that the Biden administration understands the importance of economic diplomacy in Asia. And we hope that one day the political situation in America will enable them to resume talking about a free trade agreement in some form, and talk about market access.”

Mr Lee made the comments in an interview with Japanese news media outlet Nikkei Asia on Friday (May 20), which came about a week after he said that Singapore welcomed the framework.

Slated to be launched by US President Joe Biden on Monday, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is part of the US’ economic strategy in the region and has been touted by analysts as a means to counter Chinese influence in the region.

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